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How to Protect Your Pet this Season

Posted: July 19, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

Summer is always a welcome break from the treacherous winter, but it brings its own set of safety pitfalls — namely the extremely hot temperatures that can create a dangerous situation for the entire family — including your dog. Here are a few common pet hazards and our advice for avoiding them this season.

Hazard #1: Hot dog

On a hot July day, the temperature inside of a car can reach 120 degrees in just a few short minutes. Many people think that by leaving a window cracked, they can help lower the car’s temperature, but that does little to reduce the sweltering inferno. Leaving your dog inside of a hot vehicle puts him or her at great risk for brain damage, heat stroke and suffocation.

Avoid leaving your dog in a hot car for even a few seconds. The risk is too great.


Hazard #2: Bone dry

In addition to avoiding exceptionally warm environments when possible, it’s critical to keep your dog hydrated with fresh, cold water. In heat waves, try to add ice. Also consider investing in a cooling body wrap, vest or mat. Soak the wrap in cold water before applying, and your pet will be ready to beat the heat.


Hazard #3: Out of sight

If your dog has a bit of a sneaky side, a security camera can help you keep tabs on his mischievous ways not only in the summer, but all year long. Parents of exceptionally intelligent, independent breeds like the Shiba Inu will appreciate being able to remotely watch over their pets in the yard to make sure they don’t hop a fence, tunnel their way out of the yard or completely destroy your flowerbed when you’re not physically close to them.


Hazard #4: Sun-soaked

This may be surprising news, but skin cancer is actually the most common form of cancer found in dogs. Despite their hairy coats, you should still apply a sunblock to areas on your dog’s body that aren’t covered by a lot of fur. Typically, this includes the stomach, and around ears and eyes. Be sure to use a sunblock specifically designed for pet use — ingredients such as the zinc oxide commonly found in human sun blocks can be toxic to pets.


Hazard #5: Troubled waters

Although most dogs will instinctively start “dog paddling” in water, it doesn’t mean that they can swim, or even safely play in water. Dog breeds that do the worst in water are usually those that are more top-heavy with large chests. To keep your dog safe:

  • Always use a lifejacket — Suit Fido up in a brightly colored jacket and make sure that he is visible to boaters and other human swimmers.
  • Be mindful of currents and riptides — Just as you’d watch out for a human swimmer, you also have to watch out for your pup when he takes a dip. It’s pretty easy for a dog to lose control and be whisked away in strong waters.
  • Be extra-cautious in lakes — Don’t allow your dog to swim in waters with blue-green algae. It can produce a toxin that may cause your dog to get very sick if the water is ingested.
  • Install an alarm sensor on the gate surrounding your pool area — Some dog breeds — like bulldogs — are notoriously bad swimmers and will sink like a rock in water. Installing a sensor on your pool’s gate will alert you if your dog or a child breeches the enclosed area, and you can prevent disaster before it happens.

Many of us think of our dogs as children or family members, and in the sometimes-treacherous summer weather, it’s critical to remain vigilant about their safety, too.